Monday, November 9, 2009

Okay, so I said I would transcribe my little notebook from our Uintas trip this summer. Time to pay the bill. Don't expect a harrowing story, my notebook was small and a lot was shorthand. Anything between two *'s is added and wasn't actually part of the tiny journal b/c it added value.

Day 1 (Tuesday Aug 11,2009)
Arrived at airport ~25min ahead of schedule - read Elder Eyring's book entitled: To Draw Closer to God till Kev & Nate showed up @ scheduled arrival time. *Got my hiking backpack shoved inside my military green duffel bag, and my carry on backpack.*
Drove to Alpine -saw big accident on I-15 in other direction. Helicopter on highway to get someone to hosipital! cars were parked on other side of highway *as we zipped on by in the other direction*.
Went to Cabella's, picked up our licences and some tackle *flies* for fishing.
Day 2
Excellent Breakfast at Jen's house - eggs, bacon, fruit, waffles, kodiak cakes, juice, etc. LEft Kev's @9:30am. Bought lunch food at supermarket and arrived at trail head @ noon, ate lunch then began hike at 12:30.
Syncronized all our cameras so pictures will be in order *no matter which camera they come from*
Did a few detours to see some lakes. Saw many backpackers heading out - on horseback and by foot. All very nice cowboy types. We rested several times. @ one place there was a cliff - very high - took many pictures. At one point, we passed a party with some horses on their way out - one horse had fallen down a cliff. He was "lucky to be alive" according to the cowboy guy sporting a tiny goatee-beard. *Horses leg had the hair scraped off down to the flesh and had blood all over it* After we passed - we saw horse's blood on the trail for @ least a mile.
Arrived at Jordan lake after a very arduous climb - very tired out - all were glad to get packs off. *my shoulders were killing me - I think my pack is slightly small for my shoulder width* We set up tents quickly and set off to fish immediately. Nate caught 2. Kev and I had no luck. *Just a note that Nate brought a fly reel and Kev and I were casting a fly with a clear bobber. We concluded that night that either the fly reel was better or Nate was just better at catching fish. Either way, we were glad to have fresh fish* We ate chicken noodle soup and Nate tin foil cooked the fish w/ lemon pepper seasoning - so good. I think its close to 11pm now - there has been lightning on horizon but clear sky here. Stars were amazing and Nate even saw a shooting star cross the sky! A few deer seem to like our campsite - they've been hanging around. *I walked outside our campsite area and scared one earlier* I'm tired, sore and full :) and ready for our first night of sleep.
Day 3
I just returned to camp to get our fire going. Kev and Nate are still fishing. I hope they catch a lot *at least our limit*. As of the last time I knew, Nate had 2 and Kev none. I have 2 more already here @ camp with me. I'm heating up water by the fire for cooking.
The day started off w KEv geting up first, then Nate and me last. They ate breakfast without me. I woke up and ate 2 strips of bacon, and a bowl of oatmeal. The sun was warming everything up and the sky was clear and blue. We prepared for the day hike around Naturalist Basin. Its estimated to be a 3 hour hike and it brings you to some of the upper lakes. We traveled east on the South side of lake Jordan and went around to the north side by the waterfall and climbed up the falls. They were beautiful. We really enjoyed this. The sun warmed everything up but in by the falls were were in a shady area and the temp a few degrees cooler, but still nice. We all wore pants and t-shirts. *We took a lot of pictures in this area just like we did the last time we were in the Uintas and found a waterfall glen area* At the top of the falls, we headed due east to the first lake. It had snow on the far bank that hadn't melted du to being shaded by a large rocky overhang. Looking to the north from there - you see two peaks with a "saddle" between them. Then further to the west peak is Mount Aggasis which is an altitude of over 12,500 ft. Our camp is probably between 10,500 and 11k feet. The peaks look enormous from our location next to the lake. *The weather at this point is warm and those with jackets have them wrapped around the waste. At the new elevation above the falls the landscape has changed. There is very little tree cover and if its not a marshy grassy area, then it seems to be covered with small bushes. Large rocks are visible all over the landscape and you can see for miles in the directions not blocked by mountains because we are above the tree line.*
From there we hiked across the bare land to the other lake which was over a few ridges to the north - but slightly west. We arrived at the lake and sat down in the sun to warm up. It was cooler @ those altitudes. We went up 300-500 feet from out campsite and it was nice to feel the sun heat us up. After applying sunblock on our lips we moved on. They sky started to become overcast and the temperature dropped further. Then we learned an important lesson. It started to rain - but the rain was clumpy! - actually more like snow. Then it turned to more like hail! Kev and Nate had jackets *which were on by now* - but I didn't. I was cold! *We went from sweating to cool to cold* We moved on judging how long the hail would fall and found shelter under a nice small group of stunted pine trees. We sat under there and ate our meat stick and fruit leathers which we had packed along. When the hail let up the ground was covered in small white pellet shaped ice and snowballs. In fact it as fun to watch them fall and bounce all over the place. We decided to head a course back to camp as direct as we could so we could all get ponchos and warm up. As we walked back there was some more hail, and it changed to a light rain. Eventually it stopped and we arrived back at camp to find our tents covered in snow/hail pellets. *Although the rain/hail had stopped at this point, it was really good that we went back to camp to wipe down the tents. * We quickly removed that and tightened the cords so they could dry. I went inside and found everything mostly dry. One drip @ the top was due to water getting stuck in a flap. The pulling tight fixed that. We regrouped and outfitted ourseles with what we should have had in the morning (with the warm sun and blue skies* - ponchos. I have a fully body poncho -pants and jacket. When I got out of the tent I delcared myself "poncho man." *There are pictures of this moment.* WE all got a good laugh.
Day 4 (Friday by now)
Started out easy this morning - packed up camp by noon. I woke up before Kev and Nate and went for a walk. It was cool. I went down to the lake with the intent to wash up. I washed hands, face and hair. Then I let the rising sun warm me up. The spot where I went was a rocky "jut-out" into the lake on some flat rocks. It gave me a full view of the lake. It was serene. Some fishermen were casting. One was nearby and three were far away. I let the sun warm me and then I went back to camp. At that point Nate started to get up - but Kev was gone. Turns out he was gone taking a shower at the waterfall! He came back refreshed. We ate oatmeal and packed up all of camp by noon - and headed out bushwacking to the Four Lakes area. No trails - just a compass a GPS and some good sense *which one might wonder if we really have after yesterday*
So we headed back on the trail we came from to a lake we didn't see the day before and from Evermann Lake headed due south to catch the Highline trail to the Four Lakes. The hike was through an area which was beautiful - mostly forested and some open meadows. At one we stopped and ate almonds, fruit leather, granola and each had one bite of the remaining beef stick. This was just right. From there we hiked another 30 min and came to a ridge which we couldn't climb down w/ our packs. *the drop was considerable - perhaps 50-70 ft to a open meadow with a creek running through* So we traversed around to the left toward a waterfall and rested there for a while w/ our packs off. We all washed our faces and hair in the fresh cold mountain waterfall. It was a cascading fall with dozens of 2-3 ft falls. The vegetation aroudn the falls is always greener. More flowers and something that looks like a hosta plant with large broad green leafs! WE took some sweet pic and I left a dump which really made me feel better. It was my 2nd since our trip into the wild. *funny that I mention this in my little book* Then we were off again.
About 25 minutes later we stopped in a meadow and I pumped fresh water while Nate and Kev figured out our location on the map. We mixed the water with Propel - mine was raspberry lemonade - which was quite nice. Then we drank 16 ounces each and headed off again. Shortly we caught up with the Highline Trail and turned left and followed it along toward the base of a mountain which we were goin to go around to the south then east around the base to the Four Lakes. The hike from there felt long - probably 1.5 miles and much was uphill. Needless to say were were very tired when we reached the first lake. It was a beautiful sight! over a ridge - lots of fallen rock. The mountain rising directly to our left looks like a pile of boulders up to the sky. And off to the right is Jean Lake. A very welcome site. In the distance just beyond Jean is Dean Lake. The first 2 of 4. WE continue onward down the trail to a sign that directs that to the left is Daynes Lake. We follow it down to a meadow and from there 2 lakes are visible. One to the left (Dale) and the other to the right. There is a small glen of trees in the middle and we find a side to setup camp and do so quickly because we think rain is coming. *We were blessed with sunshine all day while hiking* We get the tents up while Kev makes stew. After setting up my tent. I laid down andput my MP3 player on and relaxed for a few minutes while